The answer is because of their suppliers. Most of the multi-billion dollar companies that manufacture temperature monitoring esophageal stethoscopes have run into severe backorder situations of late. Why? Because unlike Starboard Medical, they don’t make their own sensors, but instead purchase them from someone else and have to rely on them to ship on time. This approach worked well for them for many years, as there were many suppliers available for temperature sensors. But now that has changed. One broken link in the chain can disrupt the supply chain. 

A few years back, one very large company started acquiring all of the smaller temperature sensor companies and began to merge them all together. This resulted in manufacturing locations being expanded or moved, price changes, and most importantly, significant delays in supply. When the manufacturer who sells temperature probes to hospitals can’t get the temperature sensor that goes into the probe, they can’t finish making the product, and inevitably results in a backorder. It is a domino effect – the temperature sensor supplier backorders the temperature probe manufacturer, who then backorders the hospital, and it’s the patient who ends up suffering, either from having a procedure delayed or having a less than acceptable substitute product utilized.

But the funny thing is, there is a very simple solution to this problem, and it’s that the esophageal stethoscope with a temperature sensor may not even be needed at all, and a more appropriate substitute product may be readily available. Let me explain.

An esophageal stethoscope with a temperature sensor is a dual-purpose probe. The “stethoscope” portion of the probe facilitates listening to the patient’s heart and lung sounds, while the temperature sensor monitors the patient’s core body temperature all from placement in the patient’s esophagus. Thirty years ago, the “stethoscope” portion of the esophageal stethoscope with a temperature sensor was regularly utilized by anesthesia providers, but today, 98% of the time that an esophageal stethoscope is placed, only the temperature function is utilized. 

So what does that mean? In that case, it means that the “stethoscope” function of the esophageal stethoscope with a temperature sensor is an unneeded extra! It is no longer utilized during anesthesia monitoring and only the temperature monitoring function is. Monitoring the patient’s temperature can be easily accomplished with a  temperature probe that can be placed in the esophagus. This can be accomplished with a 12 French general-purpose probe for adults and a 9 French general-purpose probe for pediatrics. In addition, this simple change can save the hospital both time and money. General-purpose probes generally cost less and they are simpler to place, saving the anesthesia provider time.

Starboard Medical offers a full line of temperature monitoring probes including Esophageal Stethoscopes and General Purpose Probes. Order samples today by clicking here. Contact us at for more tips on patient temperature monitoring.